Monday, January 21, 2013


 I was copying recipes from my mother's notebook that had many recipes shared by my aunts and my mother's friends. She had copied recipes that I thought I knew well, only to realise that she had an altogether different recipe listed under that title. Kunukku was one such. There were, in fact,  two recipes for that. Normally, this was a snack you made with left over adai batter with addends. I had my aunt's famous recipe that people used to request her to make for them.
One of the recipes required that the ingredients were made first in a dry powder and then mixed with others when you desired. The other was a wet grinding version. An opportunity to try one recipe arose when my husband invited a friend and his wife for dinner.
These days I have limited my menu and narrowed to the taste and options of the guest. There is no harm in inquiring beforehand and plan accordingly. We have become quite conscious about what we eat and so would my guests. So I limited the menu to fewer dishes, but needed to make something that was new to them. Thus I decided to try the kunukku recipe, which was new to me too.

I made the powder ahead with some extra portions for later use.So it was not time consuming when you have to devote time to other stuff, which included weekend shopping.
Even if you have to make the powder, it does not take very long provided the quantity is about one cup.

1 cup raw rice ( I bring some ponni rice from India, any short grain raw rice should work fine)
1/8 cup thuvar dhal
1/2 of a small size coconut scraped (about 1/4  cup shreds)
4-5 fresh green chilli peppers ( adjust according to heat of chillis and your taste)
2" piece ginger
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Pulse the thuvar dhal in the blender and achieve a coarse powder that of semolina consistency.
Add the rice and powder to the same consistency. The powder shall be short of fine, that when turned between fingers you feel the grainy texture.
This powder can be made and stored for months also.
To make kunukku, the listed quantity of rice and dhal when pounded will give approximately 3/4ths of the cup of flour. The rest of the ingredients suffice this quantity.
Grind the coconut, chillis, curry leaves and ginger to a smooth paste adding just enough water.
Mix the flour, salt, asafoetida powder and the paste and enough water to make a slightly stiff dough. You shall be able to hold the dough in a shape but if you apply more pressure the ball shall crumble.
Though a little loose dough will not harm, the texture of the kunukku will change for sure. Extra water will result in a soft kunukku while less water dough will give you crisp ones.
Mix the dough well, and pinch out small portions. roll them out in not-so-perfect spherical shapes.
Heat oil and deep fry the shaped kunukkus until well fried.
You may add 2 teaspoons each of channa dhal and urad dhal to the ingredients while powdering.
Adding chopped onions to the dough will enhance taste and so will adding coriander leaves.
If you are adding onions, chop them and add the salt to the onions. Crush the salt and the onions for a few minutes with your fingers. the onions will ooze moisture. Then add the rest of the ingredients.  That way you can control the water that you add.

Serve the kunukku with coconut chutney or tomato sauce.
It is not mandatory to shape the kunukkus in perfect shapes. You may choose to pinch the dough out directly in the hot oil like you would for pakodas. Either way they taste good.


  1. Oh wow, this sounds really good. I too had a same thought, made always with left over adai batter. Dry version sounds great. Perfect for our instant cravings. Loved the perfect kunukus and pictures :)

    1. I will share a soaked and grinded version too sometime. but left over adai batter will have to be stale choice for the kunukkus, isnt it?

  2. Never made tuvar dall and rice Kunukku before. It looks really amazing and I will try and make some soon.


  3. I have some pounded rice mix which I used for kali. I will try this weekend!!! Looks inviting!!!

    1. I sift the flour mix that I do for arisi upma, and the finest powder goes in to karaichcha dosai batter, the fine semolina consistency is added to stuff like these and the more coarse goes to my upma :) So I am sure you will enjoy these!

  4. I've never seen these though the name seems familiar. Don't you need to soak the rice and dhal before powdering? Just grind them as they are?

    1. no you need to just powder the raw rice and the dhal dry. I sieve the finer powder and add it to batters for the no soak/ grind dosais.
      The other version I have in the book is with puzhungal arisi and that needs soaking and grinding.

  5. Always goes for the leftover vada or ada batter, this dry version sounds wonderful. Those cute balls looks prefect and quite addictive.

  6. I love kunuku very much, though amma makes with left over adai maaavu, patti makes this separately. Cute koodai and inviting kunukus. Tempting me to take one

    1. Koodai was one of the giveaways from Aparna during the photography workshop! I love it too.

  7. I thought kunuku was paniyaaram with dosa batter..this is a nice recipe..will try it for sure..

  8. sounds good.. this is new to me

  9. I have a friend who adores kunukku... will make this for him when they visit next... That looks perfect & crunchy. I have tried once with leftover adai batter and loved it.

  10. I always thought kunukku is made from leftover adai batter too. Love this version especially the part about grinding the rice and tuvar dhal ahead of time. Will make it easy when we have sudden guests. Looks delicious, will definitely try :)

  11. Love this simple recipe and looks so inviting

  12. As a non Tam in a Tamilian household, I was told how adai batter was made into kunuku as an evening snack. But I never had leftover batter and also since I make adai a little thinner as compared to the traditional one, it is not ideal for kunuku preparation and I used to get away with that to avoid making a deep fried snack. I must admit however, kunuku is a delicious snack ! Especially after a weekend mid-day nap !

  13. wow so nice :)we say this as sanyasi urundai

  14. lathaji I like the dry version of kunkku, I will try this.

  15. Lovely! I guess it would taste as fried arisi upma, as the ingredients are very similar...I am going to try it soon

  16. The most tempting kunuku I have seen in a while. WIll make them for sure. The recipe sounds easy and I love they way they have turned out. Would go through the whole tray of them.

  17. Sanyasi urundai! Or kunukkus !!
    Tips slightly under fry them while still pale , remove and pat lightly flattening the balls to a thick vada shape in the process
    Finish frying theentire. Batch then retry them fully
    They turnout properly cooked inside and crisp outside


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Lata Raja.